Throughout the world, there are practices that are violent towards women and girls and harmful to their well-being overall. Young girls are circumcised, bound by severe dress codes, denied property rights or killed for the sake of honour in the family. Although these and other practices constitute a form of violence, they have often avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as traditional practices that deserve tolerance and respect. This highlights how the universality of human rights is often denied when it comes to the rights of women and girls, and how cultural relativism can be wrongly used to allow for inhumane and discriminatory practices against women.
When cows are traded for an unwilling bride, rural Zulu women lose their freedom, and more. Called thwala, the practice is often abused, activists say.
NORTHWEST OF HOWICK, South Africa —
— She was named Democracy in Zulu, at a time when her country had none.
A few years later, the constitution born of the historic South African election that ended apartheid made Nonkululeko "free" and "equal." But the eight cows paid for her as a bride price mean that she is neither.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are using sexual violence against men, women and children in detention and during raids in opposition strongholds, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Friday.
In 2009, on her way home from university, Vulkan was abducted by a man who wanted her for his wife and imprisoned in his house. When she tried to escape, a female relative of the “groom” threatened that she would be cursed if she dared step over the threshold to leave. Vulkan now reluctantly lives with her abductor as his wife, having been forced to give up university and any thought of a job, and is determined never to allow any sons she may have to kidnap a bride.